Do you know a budding young scientist? What about an enthusiastic engineer? Each year BP, the Science Museum Group and STEM Learning launch a nationwide competition to boost STEM engagement across schools
BP’s Ultimate STEM Challenge has been designed to help young people develop their creativity, problem-solving skills and employability by tackling real-world challenges. Teams of two to four students aged 11 to 14, from across the UK, can enter the competition and win some fantastic prizes, including an invitation to a celebratory event at the Science Museum, an Ultimate STEM experience day, £500 for their school and Science Museum goodies.
We live in a world of rapid change where developments in technology can transform societies, economies and industries. History tells us that companies that do not anticipate or adapt to new technologies struggle to survive. On the other hand, companies with leading technologies are often the most competitive and successful. Encouraging the engineers and scientists of the future is crucial for the continued success of many of the UK’s key industries.
More than 600 students took part in the previous competition which tackled themes such as increasing efficiency and living and working in challenging habitats. This year’s theme – My Sustainable Future – will see young people develop solutions to three real-world challenges which will reduce natural resource use or bring down greenhouse gas emissions.
- Handy Hydro: Create an efficient design for generating electricity from moving water.
- Parched Plants: Grow indoor plants using a sustainable method that conserves water.
- Brilliant Biogas: Build a system that generates biomethane from food waste.
By exploring the practical uses of science, the challenges are designed to inspire young people to consider careers in STEM.
The challenges can be completed at a STEM club, in class or as an independent project. With creativity and innovation at the heart of the challenges even those students who may not naturally gravitate towards science will be inspired. Teachers also have the opportunity to request support from a STEM Ambassador. Teams entering the Ultimate STEM Challenge are able to accredit their work using CREST awards from the British Science Association.
“We want every young person, regardless of their background, to benefit from the opportunities that a STEM education and career can provide. We are learning from our Enterprising Science research that an effective way to build science capital and foster STEM learning among young people is to show how science is meaningful and relevant to their lives.”Ian Duffy, head of communications and community development for BP in the UK
This year's Ultimate STEM Challenge has now launched with entries due in in mid-January and the final celebration being held in March. For further information on how to take part register at bp.com/bpes and you will receive the most up to date information via email.
The competition has been developed based on insights from the ground-breaking ‘Enterprising Science’ research which shows that the more science capital (science-related qualifications, interest, literacy and social contacts) a young person has, the more likely they are to pursue a STEM career.
The Ultimate STEM Challenge aims to give young people the opportunity to see themselves as scientists and engineers of the future and encourage them to continue studying STEM subjects and pursue STEM careers.
Winners of the 2017 Ultimate STEM challenge
Young scientists, Amelie, Cathryn and Hattie, from Evesham in Worcestershire have won a national STEM competition with an efficient design for a remote-controlled survey aircraft
Ian Duffy, head of communications and community development for BP in the UK said: “We want every young person, regardless of their background, to benefit from the opportunities that a STEM education and career can provide. We are learning from our Enterprising Science research that an effective way to build science capital and foster STEM learning among young people is to show how science is meaningful and relevant to their lives. The Ultimate STEM Challenge does this by showing students how real-world applications flow from classroom science and maths.